Chill out.

It's a temperature war in the Earth Mama house. With the temperatures starting to soar outside, it's hard to stay cool inside.

In our house, guess who's trying to crank the AC? No, it's not my husband, it's me! Yes even the earthiest of mamas, the greenest of the goddesses can't stand to sleep in a hot house. So how can I sleep comfortably on a second floor townhouse with no AC? Here are a few tips I'm trying out to keep cool, and energy costs low.

During the day, close curtains, shades and blinds on the sunny side of the house. As for the covering on the windows, Venetian (or horizontal) blinds in reflective light colors can halve the heat buildup in your home. The two-inch wide slats are especially nice since they open up the view without letting in more light.

At night, create a convective cooling system with your windows and a couple fans.
Crack open the windows on the lower-story. Don't throw them open wide, just an inch or two--this will create a strong draft. Place portable and window mounted fans in your upstairs windows, facing outward to remove the rising hot air.

Consuming only a tenth of the energy of AC, a ceiling fan will make the room feel up to 10 degrees cooler. They're no more difficult to install than adding a new light fixture and, let's face it, a lot more attractive than an air conditioner stuffed in your window frame. Furthermore, with the reverse-direction setting in the winter, you can pull warm air down from the ceiling to help keep cozy. Be sure to look for an Energy Star rated model for maximum savings.

Try some inventive gardening and decoration. Use plants to filter the light that reaches your home and paint the exterior in lighter, more reflective colors to reduce solar gain. The full summer canopies of trees and shrubs will cool your home when you need it, but let in warm light when the leaves have fallen.

Comment below if these tips work for you, or if you have any other ideas on how we can all keep our cool this summer!